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kitchen planning island help (need pics!)


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Does anyone have a kitchen island with a sink and dishwasher and also seating? Can you share a pic and whether or not you like it?  (I have already scoured the internet. I'm looking for real life examples. 🙂 ) 

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Ours has a dishwasher on one end, next to the sink (the sink is not in the island), seating all around (barstools), and storage on the opposite end next to the stove, a cabinet for baking stuff and a drawer. I love the entire set up. 

Edited by MEmama
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37 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Ours has a dishwasher on one end, next to the sink (the sink is not in the island), seating all around (barstools), and storage on the opposite end next to the stove, a cabinet for baking stuff and a drawer. I love the entire set up. 

Thank you! Can you show me a picture? 

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I had a kitchen island/bar with the sink and dishwasher in it.  There was a step up counter with 3 or 4 stools. That was great for hiding a mess from the living area. I think the step up counters have gone out of style though.  My best friend has a HUGE counter height island.  Sink, 2 dishwashers and room for 8 bar stools. It is almost too big in that you can't reach the bar stool area from the sink side.  

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We had that in a rental house we lived in a couple of years ago--so I can't share a picture.  I did not like it.  The things I keep around my sink, like dish soap and scrub brush, seemed not to have a home.  Sink water seemed to splash to all of the surrounding area.  I prefer to have a wall/window as a backstop to my sink. 

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Different experience but we went from an island with a stovetop to a plain island (no stove tops, sinks etc). Oh my, how I love it!!!  The space to spread out and cook and chop and platter.  My sink and dishwasher are to my back.  It’s perfect.

10 years ago I had a sink in our island.  I liked the fact that I could look out to the playroom, but the sink was disruptive and in the way.  I could have walked around to the other side of the island, but then I’d be too far from the stove.  

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I can snag some pictures if you want. Really though, the first question when deciding this is how much space you have. If you have enough space, it's an easy decision. If you have less, it might make more sense to leave the island unbroken. I've done it both ways, well actually all three (large island with sink and dw, small island with sink and dw, island with no stuff). So if I show you my 8' island and your potential island is 4', that's not helpful, kwim? Correction, just measured and it's longer than that (9 ½').

I like my island a lot, yes. But I designed it to fit how I cook. I was creating zones of function so multiple people could work at once. Aisle widths are important too, because you want clearance when the dw is open so a person can be unloading while another person is cooking. Honestly, I have to dw's. So I have one in the island that is for prep cleanup and another in a dedicated dish clean up area. If I didn't have the aisle space for the clearance to unload while someone else is cooking, I might not have done that. The whole thing has to make sense, kwim? 

Oh mercy, I'm looking at my island right now and you so do not want a picture of it, lol. It's covered in all sorts of stuff (shells I'm cleaning, etc. etc.). :biggrin: Maybe I'll get one done or you can blink and ignore clutter. Remember, concussion baby, I've been treating a concussion. Housework does not exist when you have a concussion. LOL

If you want to post a schematic of your kitchen with dimensions (or have it drawn on graph paper), people could give you suggestions. What type of sink are you thinking about and what do you want the function to be? I was obsessive about my sinks, haha, and the type of sink drove the placement. At my cleanup area (not in the island), have a LARGE sink, something akin to a bathtub, haha. It's a single bowl, stainless, very big and deep. That thing can eat dishes, handle clean big cookie sheets, whatever. The sink in my island is also a single bowl, but it's much smaller, a D shape, and it's shallow. If I hadn't been so picky about noise, I would have put in a food disposal, because it's the sink I use to prep. Instead I have a nice metal compost bin with biodegradeable bags. I like installed soap pumps and dh didn't. I got one by accident. I guess I could go either way on that. We keep a drinking spigot at that sink with filtered water because on the other side of the sink is my appliance farm with an electric tea kettle, food processor, mixer, etc. So I prep dinner (salads, etc) to the left of the sink, and I have dirty dishes that I push out of the way to use appliances (which honestly I don't use very often) to the right. So there is a DW to the right of the sink because it receives the cooking messes.

There are plenty of theories on how to design islands, whether to center the sink, what size of sink to use, etc. I think be very intention, and my personally opinion is not to go too big. Because this sink is something I'm using to prep, not to clean up 30 place settings of dishes after a party or wash babies, I don't need something mammoth, kwim? I measured my LARGEST CUTTING BOARD, and that's what drove the sink size. I have this sort of biggish Boos cutting board, maybe 2" thick, and something like that can stand in it if you put it on the diagonal. My largest cookie sheets can also fit in there if I stand them up. So for simple washing up of prep cooking, even my big things fit. But it's still a single bowl going in a 26" cabinet. 

So realistically, you work through your island thinking of it as cabinets. If a DW is 30" (I forget) and the sink cabinet with a single bowl is say 26", then you're already at 4 ½'. I wanted a trash can on the end because that's where I prep and I prep MESSY. I have a commercial size Toter trashcan that goes under a shallow overhang. It's easy to pull out and around and it's easy to throw things in when it's under there. And it gives me just enough overhang for a small spot for my stool. You did catch that I'm OCD about these things, right? I wanted a stool at counter height, because the other side of the island is raised. By raising the bar side, I got a shallow backsplash, into which I put PLUGMOLD. This is the wonder of wonders and you can google it. Use it liberally and change your life. :biggrin: It's cheap and a little tacky, but I didn't care when I can plug in my tools ANYWHERE in my kitchen. Oh the joy! 

The designer that helped me with my kitchen design had suggested a 3rd level on the island with a cabinet that would maybe be glass front and hold cereal, whatever. We didn't do that. I don't really regret it in that with our flow it would have been odd. However I think aesthetically she was right that with a large island you can handle a 3rd level. Also she wanted to do the bar eating area *rounded* as a half circle, which we didn't do either. I guess my OCD requires symmetry, because I just couldn't get my brain there and drew it out straight and left it that way. I think about what she had done, but we use that long span to lay out buffets. 

Actually what happens when we host parties is that we use *both* sides of the island. Sometimes like with Thanksgiving we'll put all the food on the raised area. But if we're doing parties that are quickly going to have dessert and the meal and we want it all laid out, we do the meal on the kitchen side and the desserts on the bard side. So you definitely want to think through what you tend to host and how chopping up your island with sinks and junk makes it harder to do that. There's not really a wrong answer, just intentional answers, kwim? Because my island is divided with the sink in the middle, we tend to put drinks on the appliance farm side and food to the left. The food also goes on the perimeter. It all works out, lol.

My perimeter counter that runs parallel to the island is completely unbroken. So where most people would have a sink facing a window to look outside and want an unbroken island, I wanted the opposite, with my sink facing the great room (so I could talk) and the window counter unbroken to allow for laying out rows of cooling racks, rolling out pasta, canning, etc. So what I did fit how I wanted to cook, kwim? And my stove is (shhh) in the corner. I'm not sure where you're putting your stove, but having SOME unbroken counter somewhere is usually pretty desirable. I'd be cautious about breaking up too many of your counter runs. I also minimized overhead cabs, so I don't have a lot bonking my head and making it hard to use the perimeter counters. And we had them built deeper than standard by a few inches. If you want to know how deep, well it's the depth I can reach (I'm 5'5") without bending. Hahaha. You can fur out standard cabinets and make this happen. My island is also deeper on the prep side. The bar side is just an overhang with brackets. 

The counter surfaces of my perimeter and prep side of island match, but the raised bar side of the island is a different material. The island cabinets are a different finish from the perimeter cabs. I would have used even more colors (I'm a color junky) but dh couldn't get there, lol. So instead it's just a country cherry (not formal) on the perimeter and a classic creamy off white with a mild distressing. 

Your sink placement could also depend on your lighting plans. I had my heart set on these Tiffany art glass light fixtures that reminded me of a light fixture my grandma had in her kitchen when I was growing up. Because they were two fixtures (vs. one large or a string of small pendants) then sink had to be just so. I wanted it centered, lol. 

I've seen people put small sinks into islands. I don't like an island sink really deep or really big. Deep just has you hurting your back bending over and big is just not necessary for prep. If your largest item you want to quick wash there (a cutting board) fits, why do you need it bigger?? You don't.

Sinks are a fun topic. You might find a sink drives your design. Because the island is raised, I have enough hiding space to have a low *pull out* faucet that really doesn't show. So if you look toward the kitchen, you don't see much of my appliance farm because of the backs of the bar seating. And you don't see the faucet because it's low ish and pull out, not TALL. 

Was that clear as mud? Hahaha. I'm trying to let you in on what my thought process was, because that will be more important than aesthetics. 

Ok, one more piece, and now you'll know how OCD I am. I measured my largest cutting board, laid out three salad bowls, imagined some more  space for vegetables, and measured. That's how much space I have to the left of my sink. There's also room for my knife block. So all that fits and it has worked beautifully for 12 years now because I measured everything. It wasn't just an idea of what might work. I knew what I wanted to stand there and do (prep salads) and measured the space needed for the equipment when laid out and then made sure the space was adequate. So then the cabinet under that prep area holds everything I use to prep there (salad bowls, boards, towels because i'm an exceptionally messy cook and use a lot of towels), different wraps, etc. 

I could see a totally different layout for someone else. Ina Garten has a prep sink in her island for her tv show kitchen. It's a single bowl, probably deeper than mine, and I think she even has some refrigerator drawers, yes? 

So the point is, think through what you want to do and the space and cabs needed to make it happen.

Have you seen Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind by Don Silvers? He has a helpful little book that I spent hours mulling trying to figure out my layout. I pretty much plagiarized stuff he had done, haha.

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So we are building a house. We are working with a builder to modify a plan that he has to fit with what we want. I have never been able to upload photos here so I don't know how I could share the plan.  Also, our builder is SUPER old school and doesn't have a lot of pictures of anything. But I did find an old listing of a house that he built the that has a very similar plan to ours. The kitchen, dining room, family room, and opening to the laundry room is the same.  The biggest difference in the main floor is that the house in these pics has the stairs off to the side but in ours they will be in the middle of the foyer like most people have. 

This house has a wrap around peninsula which I think is a dated look and I also don't want to feel boxed in. I also am almost certain that I don't want the sink in the island. I really do want extra seating at an island or extended counter, though. 

Again, this is NOT my house.  We are building from scratch and the plan is similar to this:
https://www.redfin.com/PA/Leola/131-Snapdragon-Dr-17540/home/130013869

 

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What is the distance between the cabs (frig wall to opposite)? You need to get specs, draw this thing out on grid paper, and then do it several ways. It could be that your vision for how you want to be in your kitchen doesn't fit the vision this kitchen design is going for. Remember, you're at home all day with your kids, so that's very different from people who work and show up, cook a meal at the end. So, for instance, you can't see your kids hanging in the family room on the other side of the wall. Does that bug you or is that great? If you're sorta introvert, it could be great, haha. 

So think through zones. You've got a big lost wall on the dining side where I suppose someone would put a hutch. If you're taking out that angled peninsula, would you extend the bar straight? It's a very pretty look as a penninsula and I can't tell what happens if it's straight. I would draw various ways and think through flow and function. How OCD are you and how far do you want to take this? I took our kitchen to a kitchen designer after the architect did his thing. If it's very important to you, this might be the stage to consider that. Getting the design drives plumbing and electrical placement decisions. So if you want something RADICALLY different, you'd need to do that pronto. 

If you pretty close to like it as is, then you could put one of those moveable butcher block islands on top. I could totally see that in there. Have you looked at a restaurant supply? I used a long (8-9', I forget) stainless restaurant supply table in our basement kitchen where we started when we built the house. That thing is a BEAST and for some looks you can totally do that. What you're missing is long interrupted counter surface, work space. 

So I think think through how much you're wanting to change here and how *close* it is to what you wanted. At this stage, you could do a radical overhaul or minor tweaks or just add a moveable island and it could all be good. That prep island would make a huge difference if there's room. Yes, I think you could straighten out the island and then just L it a *bit* for a dw and then have it be more open to a prep island in the middle. I like mixing materials, so I would do it with stainless or wood top on a stainless table or cart, depending on the space. You'd have open storage from both sides, a place to hang towels, a place to prep opposite your stove. But draw it out, think about flow, think about bodies and where they go. 

Edited by PeterPan
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Like I said, think how radical you want to go, because this is the stage, lol. You've got 8 ½' by my estimate from the tile. That could be wrong, just saying. And with the size of teen bodies, I would want at least 3 ½ feet on each side of a prep island, which means that's what you're looking at, something like a stainless prep table. I would do that over cabs so it doesn't look so closed in, just me. 

But if more is up in the air, you could do all kinds of things. Just depends how far you want to go. Will you have a walk in pantry as well or is that pantry cab the only pantry? And no exhaust fan? Are you messy cook who needs a hood or is that ok? 

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https://www.equippers.com/duke-hardwood-maple-top-work-table-60w-x-30d-x-36h/7121a-6030.asp  This is just an example to get your mind wheeling. They come bigger, smaller, multiple tiers of shelves, optional drawers, etc. At 30" wide, it might be tight. But you know, look. I think my all stainless one is 24" but I could be wrong on that. 

And they make cute residential ones too. Just look up kitchen prep carts and you'll find all kinds of ideas. It will have the dimensions you want. There are some AMAZING ones. You can get them with like 6" thick butcher block or made to look antique or from painted wood. You could bring in a lot of personality with it.

https://www.amazon.com/American-Heritage-Gathering-Table-Butcher/dp/B001NFXPRG  an example

Whatever you do, protect the floor space. Don't go so big that you're trapped in. You'll love wide aisles as your kids grow. 

If you do that prep island, try putting a small sink beside the stove. That way you can wash little things there, fill your pots, whatever. And consider plugmold along that stove wall the whole wall. You can run it right under the upper cabinets. Look for pics. I'm not sure I would break up so much backsplash, so it would go under the cabs. 

Have fun. :biggrin:

Edited by PeterPan
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2 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

So we are building a house. We are working with a builder to modify a plan that he has to fit with what we want. I have never been able to upload photos here so I don't know how I could share the plan.  Also, our builder is SUPER old school and doesn't have a lot of pictures of anything. But I did find an old listing of a house that he built the that has a very similar plan to ours. The kitchen, dining room, family room, and opening to the laundry room is the same.  The biggest difference in the main floor is that the house in these pics has the stairs off to the side but in ours they will be in the middle of the foyer like most people have. 

This house has a wrap around peninsula which I think is a dated look and I also don't want to feel boxed in. I also am almost certain that I don't want the sink in the island. I really do want extra seating at an island or extended counter, though. 

Again, this is NOT my house.  We are building from scratch and the plan is similar to this:
https://www.redfin.com/PA/Leola/131-Snapdragon-Dr-17540/home/130013869

 

Ok this is very similar to how mine was and I loved it, although I can see your point that it looks a little boxed in.  I like @PeterPan suggestion above to pull it out and straighten it.  Mine was not boxed in.  I will try to link a pic to it.  I loved the sink to be facing the living space or where the people were.  

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18 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

@MEmama do you mind having the sink separate? Is it a pain to load the dishwasher? 

This was the best I can do, but you can see how close the sink is to the island. The dishwasher is right under the bit of island that shows, across from the sink (but not directly across, so there’s plenty of space to work). It’s a very user friendly set up. I’m pretty careful because of the wood floors but dripping water from sink to dishwasher hasn’t been an issue since there isn’t an excess of space when the dishwasher door is open, if that makes sense? 
 

I actually prefer having the sink where it is, in the traditional space vs inside the island. That’s just not a set up that would work for me in this space, though it might in another depending on the configuration of the kitchen. 
 

HTH! 

 

Edited by MEmama
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My island is too close to a wall and is not actually usable for seating. We therefore have a large wasted space in our kitchen. Measure enough room for people to walk by--even with nearby doors open, etc.

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6 minutes ago, MEmama said:

That’s a gorgeous kitchen! I love the open floor plan. 

I always thought it was a great plan.  You can almost see the front door through the cabinets on the right side.  And those uppers above the bar are not against a wall...there is a walk way behind that area that goes to the half bath, garage and laundry room.  The area behind the wall that has the stove on it, is the formal living room....the area in front of the bar is a large family room/den/ whatever.  

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Thanks so much for all of the thoughts and ideas!!

DH is meeting with the builder today to get more specifics on the dimensions of everything.  I agree that will dictate what we do.  It's 2 hours away and he's going to FaceTime me in because this will be the third time in two weeks that we've gone out. 

So as I'm reading everything and thinking through it, I'm leaning towards going with an extended counter for seating that just goes straight towards the dinette area/windows between the kitchen and family room. That would just be for seating.  And then add an island in the center of the kitchen with a sink and dishwasher only, not for seating. I want a huge sink. HUGE. We did a complete kitchen reno in our last house and I had an amazing humongous single bowl stainless steel under-mount sink.  I want exactly that again. I also don't want to be staring at a wall while I wash dishes and this would save cabinet space too. Our view out the windows will be an Amish farm.  If I'm in the center of the kitchen, I could still sort of see it while washing/prepping I think.  

I've also realized that I don't think I want to have the sink where there is seating. I'm big on doing dishes gradually. So if we have company and we are using the island for seating and I'm also washing dishes randomly when people are there, that would be awkward.  But not so awkward for me to walk into the kitchen to wash or prep something. 

I want to avoid the island/counter having a split level where one side is higher. I think that would cut me off from the family room too much. 

3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Will you have a walk in pantry as well or is that pantry cab the only pantry? And no exhaust fan? Are you messy cook who needs a hood or is that ok?

There is a walk in pantry between the kitchen and laundry room if you can see it -- it's a little hard to see. That area is actually quite big and the powder room is through those doors and it leads to the garage.  We will have an exhaust fan above the stove, no microwave.  I hate having the microwave above the stove. 

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3 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

Thanks so much for all of the thoughts and ideas!!

DH is meeting with the builder today to get more specifics on the dimensions of everything.  I agree that will dictate what we do.  It's 2 hours away and he's going to FaceTime me in because this will be the third time in two weeks that we've gone out. 

So as I'm reading everything and thinking through it, I'm leaning towards going with an extended counter for seating that just goes straight towards the dinette area/windows between the kitchen and family room. That would just be for seating.  And then add an island in the center of the kitchen with a sink and dishwasher only, not for seating. I want a huge sink. HUGE. We did a complete kitchen reno in our last house and I had an amazing humongous single bowl stainless steel under-mount sink.  I want exactly that again. I also don't want to be staring at a wall while I wash dishes and this would save cabinet space too. Our view out the windows will be an Amish farm.  If I'm in the center of the kitchen, I could still sort of see it while washing/prepping I think.  

I've also realized that I don't think I want to have the sink where there is seating. I'm big on doing dishes gradually. So if we have company and we are using the island for seating and I'm also washing dishes randomly when people are there, that would be awkward.  But not so awkward for me to walk into the kitchen to wash or prep something. 

I want to avoid the island/counter having a split level where one side is higher. I think that would cut me off from the family room too much. 

There is a walk in pantry between the kitchen and laundry room if you can see it -- it's a little hard to see. That area is actually quite big and the powder room is through those doors and it leads to the garage.  We will have an exhaust fan above the stove, no microwave.  I hate having the microwave above the stove. 

Sounds lovely! 

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